World's oldest spacewoman sets spacewalking record

Mission Control instructed the astronauts to retrieve the cloth cover just removed from the docking port, and try to fashion it over the gaping hole left by the lost shield.

Images on NASA television showed the shield as a small white dot in the darkness. NASA says the lost shield - essentially 18 pounds of fabric - poses no threat to the orbiting complex.

Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Whitson's last spacewalk was on January 6 with Commander Shane Kimbrough when she hooked up new lithium-ion batteries and inspected the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

The cable connections at the Pressurised Mating Adapter-3 were fixed by Whitson and Kimbrough, who attached it to the Harmony module's space-facing port.

"Be safe and enjoy your time out", said French astronaut Thomas Pesquet as the hatch opened.

"I will be waiting for you". Whitson's total time is now 53 hours and 25 minutes.

Whitson, 57, is considered the oldest and most experienced woman astronaut in history, the Associated Press reported. Williams is one of four NASA astronauts who will make the initial test flights of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner capsules. She is also the first woman to command the International Space Station, which she has done twice in her career. But mission managers are debating the possibility of keeping Whitson in orbit until September to maximize research time. There was frustration in her voice as she informed Mission Control. Whitson, the world's oldest and most experienced spacewoman has just set another record, her eighth spacewalk.

The two astronauts will also install the second of the two upgraded computer relay boxes on the station's truss and install shields and covers on PMA-3 and the now-vacant common berthing mechanism port on Tranquility.

"I traveled to Russian Federation eight times in the last 1.5 year training flow, two times to Japan and one time to Cologne", she wrote in a recent blog post. When she launched previous year from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan she became the oldest woman to fly in space and the oldest woman to perform a spacewalk.

For part of the outing, Pesquet is scheduled to ride the robotic arm from part of the football field-sized lab to another.

All of us Earthlings couldn't be prouder of Whitson.

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